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Leading a Life of Compassion as an Animal Place Volunteer

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At Animal Place, our mission of compassion propels us to save the lives of thousands of farmed animals each year. At the heart of our organization are several hundred volunteers who practice the same mission and choose to give their time toward our rescue efforts. From cleaning stalls to socializing with our chickens, volunteers are integral to Animal Place and without them, none of what we do would be made possible.

Although each volunteer believes in our mission, the way they incorporate it into their lives is vastly different and is heavily influenced by their own core values. The compassionate actions of each of our volunteers have truly gone a long way. Deenie Venditti, who has volunteered with Animal Place for one year, expressed that the Animal Place mission aligns with her value of respect for all living beings; “Animals love us unconditionally and are a therapy in so many ways.”

Carina DeVera has brought her extensive bird-handling experience to Animal Place and has helped with multiple hen rescues and health checks over the past four years. “I was excited to put my experience to good use, and in a way that helps animal victims of farming directly.” For Carina, veganism has also played a huge role in her life, both outside of Animal Place and as a volunteer. “Being vegan can often feel abstract; you know that in a larger sense you are helping animals through everyday choices, but to literally meet these rescued animals and help make their lives better feels empowering. It’s a true gift to put one’s compassion into action in such an immediate way…and to connect with others who feel the same way.”


Long time volunteer and mentor, Cara Ratkovich, receives fulfillment and gratification from providing service to others through her volunteer role. “I get to be of service to the caregivers who give themselves every day, rain or shine, to the care of the animals.” She also believes that every animal, human or nonhuman, deserves to live a life without fear. “My feeling is that every animal should have the opportunity to live a fulfilling and safe life. Animal Place provides that for so many.”

Brent Ratkovich was an animal caregiver for one year and continues to give his time as an Animal Place volunteer. Being a part of Animal Place has been a life-changing experience and has helped Brent realize the benefits of living a compassionate lifestyle. “When I woke up and realized that I wasn’t aligning my actions with my ethics, I knew I needed to change. Animal Place was (and continues to be) the great blueprint for a more compassionate life while helping ALL animals. They are a constant inspiration that motivates me to be more and do more with vegan advocacy and to just continue living a kinder life.”

– Brenda Rynders, Volunteer Coordinator